You have probably seen talking heads discuss whether hiring Doug Pederson was the best move the Jacksonville Jaguars made in the offseason. The consensus seems to believe so and nobody will bat an eye if you bring it up in a conversation. But what if landing Pederson isn’t just the best move the Jags made this offseason but in years?
Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report recently drew up a list of the most significant moves every NFL team made this offseason and he believes hiring Pederson to leave the void left by Urban Meyer was the Jaguars’ best. Ballentine outlines the day and night contrast between Meyer and Pederson and goes on to say that the latter has a “legitimate NFL resume“.
"There weren’t many realistic options who would’ve been better than Doug Pederson. The former Eagles head coach might not have had the best ending in Philly, but his time there resulted in a Super Bowl win with Nick Foles at quarterback… Second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence has been thrilled to work with his new head coach."
Ballentine isn’t alone, and you will often hear similar things about Pederson from pretty much any analyst. In fact, you might have a hard time finding someone who didn’t like the hiring. There’s no doubt Pederson has run things smoothly and his impact can already be felt. Players seem to be on board with his approach and are ecstatic to play for him.
The Jaguars got it right when they hired Doug Pederson
Ok, so Pederson will be a great mentor for Trevor Lawrence and he knows how to win but why is hiring him, at least from a coaching standpoint, the best move the Jaguars have made in years? The bar isn’t set particularly high when you take into account that Jacksonville has won a combined 15 games over the last four seasons.
But the truth is that it’s hard to find a move the Jags have made in the last ten years that has had the same impact as bringing in Doug Pederson as their head coach. Hiring Tom Coughlin as the vice president of football operations might have helped the Jaguars have a winning season — their only one in more than ten years — in 2017 but he often clashed with players and was given the boot near the end of the 2019 season.
Similarly, the Jaguars haven’t been very good at hiring head coaches and general managers. Doug Marrone is their only head coach to win more than six games in a season in the last ten years. And their general managers have had an abysmal track record of identifying talent. Dave Caldwell put together a pretty solid team in 2017 but spent the following years dismantling it and trading the team’s top players for draft picks.
It’s important to point out that Pederson has yet to coach a game in the regular season, and could very well struggle to rack up wins. However, early signs are encouraging and he’s got the team trending in the right direction.
Moreover, Pedersen hasn’t made any significant mistakes during his stint in Jacksonville. For that reason, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him win seven to nine games in 2022 and eventually turn the Jaguars into a playoff contender. That would easily make him the best coach they’ve had in a while.